Environmental Policy

Anti-whaling protest ship in distress
December 29, 2011 09:27 AM - Reuters, SYDNEY

Anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd said one of its boats chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean had issued a distress call after its hull was cracked by a rogue wave. Sea Shepherd flagship the Steve Irwin was fighting heavy seas to help rescue the damaged Brigitte Bardot chase boat and is expected to take 17 hours to reach it, Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said Thursday. "This is disappointing, but these are hostile seas and we have always been prepared for situations like this," said Watson via satellite telephone from the Steve Irwin. "Right now the safety of my crew on the Brigitte Bardot is our priority and we intend to reach the crew and then do what we can to save our ship." Watson said the damaged boat would be returned to Australia, while a third vessel continues to chase the Japanese fleet. The "Brigitte Bardot," with a crew of 10 (three British, three American, one Australian, one Canadian, one Belgian and one South African), is about 1,500 miles southwest of the west Australian port of Fremantle.

Tokyo Electric Power wants government bailout to help pay victims of meltdowns
December 27, 2011 08:45 AM - Yoko Kubota and Kentaro Hamada & Michael Watson, Reuters

Tokyo Electric Power Co asked a government-backed bailout body on Tuesday for an additional 690 billion yen ($8.8 billion) to help compensate victims of the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant. To help Japan's biggest utility, known as Tepco, meet costs running into trillions of yen for compensation and cleanup, the government had already agreed in November to provide 890 billion yen through a bailout fund. "We have reviewed the estimated sum of compensation after the committee addressing compensation disputes decided on additional measures to compensate victims who voluntarily evacuated," Tepco said in a statement.

Christmas recycling ideas from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
December 26, 2011 07:43 AM - Editor, ENN

Have a Green Christmas Look for reuse and recycling opportunities as you replace appliances, electronics and computers. Discarded cell phones may be donated for Domestic Violence Programs though your cell services provider. Discarded electronics (computers, copiers, fax machines, printers, monitors) may be donated to a local nonprofit, parent-teacher association or the Louisiana Corporate Recycling Council's computers for schools program, 225.379.3577. Parts that cannot be refurbished can be sent for dismantling. Appliances may either be donated or sent for recycling. Outgrown toys and clothes and furniture may be donated to organizations like Salvation Army, Paralyzed Veterans, or Volunteers of America. Look for ways to avoid creating garbage. Rather than wrapping gifts for the youngsters, hide the presents, and turn Christmas into a treasure hunt. Create you own recyclable wrapping paper by using the Sunday comics, magazines and wrapping paper recovered from previous events.

'Christmas miracle' for endangered rhinos
December 25, 2011 07:59 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

Conservationists and wildlife officials in the Malaysian state of Sabah airlifted a young female Sumatran Rhinoceros — one of the world's most endangered animals — to an area of forest where she would encounter a potential partner, reports the Sabah Wildlife Department and Borneo Rhino Alliance. Sumatran Rhinoceros populations are so low, some individuals live in areas where they have no hope of ever finding another rhino. "This is a fantastic gift for our uphill battle in ensuring the survival of this truly unique species and wonderful timing with Christmas, a time to give thanks for our blessings," said Laurentius Ambu the Director of the SWD. "We have monitored her since 2007, and there is no sign that any other rhino has entered her range in the past five years," added Junaidi Payne the Executive Director of Borneo Rhino Alliance. "This is a stark indication that so few rhinos remain that they are simply not meeting for reproduction."

Chestnuts Roasting By An Open Fire: Eco-Friendly Or Health Threat?
December 24, 2011 09:06 AM - Carol Pierson Holding, Justmeans

A Tacoma-Pierce County WA Task Force just sent its recommendations to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency about how to reduce soot in the air to meet EPA standards. The soot is created partly by diesel vehicles and industry, but the most (53%) is from wood burning stoves and fireplaces. I remember from my days in New York City the ongoing struggle over fireplaces and the particulate pollution they create. The concern has spread nationally too. As the New York Times reported last January, sales of wood stoves and fireplaces have dropped dramatically over the last decade. The Times attributes this drop at least in part to the growing ambivalence towards wood fires. But now that I'm in the Pacific Northwest, I find a different ethos about wood stoves and fireplaces. We feel good about burning wood; trees are abundant and so is firewood. We know instinctively that burning wood produces particulate pollution, we can see the smoke, but we also trust that the winter rains washes those particles away. Even some of our local experts see wood as a future fuel, a serious source of biomass energy. As University of Washington air-pollution researcher Michael Yost told KCTS 9, "We have a fuel that we can use which is relatively eco-friendly. It's a renewable resource. So there's a natural advantage to that biofuel use." But the realities and science of air quality question some of our long held assumptions about the wholesomeness of a fire. Yost explains, "”¦biofuels by and large across the world are much dirtier and have higher emissions. So we need to balance the use of these fuels versus the emissions they contribute. And probably starting on a local scale, because that’s where the problem starts."

Wildlife Protection at Glover's Reef, Belize Falling Short
December 23, 2011 10:04 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Belize, the small Central American nation facing the Caribbean Sea on the Yucatan Peninsula, is home to extremely diverse and tropical wildlife. A large stretch of sea surrounding Glover's Reef, an atoll reef lagoon that is home to a beautiful resort, has been placed under government protection. As a result of the fishing ban, populations of barracuda, groupers, snappers, and other predators have rebounded. However, populations of herbivorous fish have only slightly increased. This means trouble for the corals which depend on the herbivorous fish to eat the algae which collects upon and smothers them.

Power plant rules unveiled: Higher bills, cleaner air
December 22, 2011 09:10 AM - Editor, MSNBC.com: Environment

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled rules for coal-fired power plants that mean costly investments passed on to consumers, but also health benefits. Hundreds of older plants — which together make up the largest remaining source of unchecked toxic air pollution in the United States — will have to cut emissions or shut down.

Great Lakes wolves to lose federal protection
December 22, 2011 07:01 AM - John Rondy, Reuters, MILWAUKEE

Thousands of gray wolves in the Midwest will soon be stripped of federal safeguards under the Endangered Species Act, the government said on Wednesday, in a move that could open the animals to state-licensed hunting. An estimated 4,000 wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and parts of adjacent states are due to lose their status as either endangered or threatened species on January 27, 2012 under the newly issued U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule. Some environmental groups criticized the action as likely to jeopardize the wolf's recovery, but federal wildlife managers said the animal's population had grown robust enough to hand control of the iconic predator back to the states. A review of the Great Lakes wolf population found the species has exceeded its recovery goals in recent years, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a statement. The agency estimates there are now 2,921 wolves in Minnesota, 687 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and 782 in Wisconsin.

UN: Canada, out of Kyoto, must still cut emissions
December 14, 2011 08:41 AM - Editor, Reuters, LONDON

Canada still has a legal obligation under United Nations rules to cut its emissions despite the country's pullout from the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. climate chief said on Tuesday. Christiana Figueres also said the timing of Canada's move, a day after a deal to extend the protocol was clinched at a U.N. summit in South Africa, was regrettable and surprising.

Green Christmas suggestions from IzzitGreen
December 13, 2011 09:55 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Just in time for our readers' last minute Christmas Shopping, our friends from IzzitGreen have come up with five great eco-friendly Holiday gifts. As an additional eco-incentive 50% of the proceeds earned for any purchase of the Get to Know Nature bag will go directly to the Get to Know organization and help support their mission to keep the National Parks of the U.S. and Canada vibrant. Enjoy! Get to Know NatureBag The NatureBag is packed full of fun activities designed to support Get to Know's main mission to connect kids with the great outdoors. The all-weather activity booklet and other accessories encourage exploration and natural awareness through lead experiential activities. Pack up all the eco-friendly tools made from recycled materials into the unique fair trade, organic cotton shoulder bag and away you go! Last year the Get to Know NatureBag received the Gold Medal Award from Parent’s Choice as an eco-friendly and socially sound choice. http://www.gettoknow.ca/store/naturebagGrowBottles Everything you need to grow fresh herbs and gain the culinary respect (or envy) of your friends is packaged into these beautiful recycled GrowBottles, and they're made completely with sourced and re-purposed materials. With a little water and love the GrowBottles can continue to produce year after year with your own seeds or one of the refill kits. Thanks to brilliant design and the power of hydroponics, growing fresh herbs indoors has never been so easy. Available in Oregano, Chives, Basil, Parsley and Mint certified organic seed varieties.

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